The 2022 Qatar World Cup will kick off with the Qatar vs. Ecuador match as the opening game between the host and Ecuador. Senegal will also take on the Netherlands at night as well. There will be 46 other games in the group round to determine the top 16 teams, advancing to the next phase.
32 teams will compete in the group stage after being divided into 8 groups. That stands each team has to face 3 opponent sides in the first stage battle.
France enters the tournament as the defending champion, whereas Brazil will start its “search for the Hexa” mission as the current No. 1 ranked football team. Many shocks and upsets can occur at any moment, like in the previous World Cups, and any team might emerge as the ‘dark horse’.
But, it’s possible to make an educated guess regarding what might happen in the group stage, which teams would probably dominate and advance to the Group of 16.
Let’s unfold it here.
|Group A||Netherlands, Senegal|
|Group B||England, USA|
|Group C||Argentina, Mexico|
|Group D||France, Denmark|
|Group E||Germany, Spain|
|Group F||Belgium, Croatia|
|Group G||Brazil, Switzerland|
|Group H||Portugal, Uruguay|
Group A (Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador)
The host team, Qatar, will start their debut tournament with tough competition against big names like the Netherlands, 2021 AFCON winners Senegal, and Ecuador.
In the last couple of years, the Netherlands emerged as a very strong side, especially after the addition of world-class players like Virgil Van Dijk, Mathijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum, Memphis Depay, and so on. Belgium was unbeaten in the qualifying round with 6 wins.
The 2002 World Cup Quarterfinalists, Senegal, enter the cup after defeating Egypt at the tie-break. With big names like Édouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, and Sadio Mané on the side, Senegal could be a force to be reckoned with. Ecuador, the lowest-ranked CONMEBOL team in the world cup, is possibly the only hope for Qatar to earn a victory.
Prediction: Netherlands, Senegal
Group B (England, USA, Iran, Wales)
England is in red-hot form under Gareth Southgate. They were the finalists in the Euro 2020 and the Semifinalists in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. ‘The Three Lions’ were also undefeated in the 10 matches of the qualifying round. Undoubtedly, they will be the ones dominating over other opponents in Group B.
After missing out in 2018, the USMNT is back in the World Cup as the 3rd qualified team from the CONCACAF region, just after Canada and Mexico. The USA wasn’t that impressive in the qualifying stage, especially their defeat against Panama, and then a draw with El Salvador came as a surprise for many.
Despite their poor form in the qualifier, the USA holds more chance than Iran and UEFA play-off winning team to secure second place in Group B. Including superstars like Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna, Antonee Robinson, Tyler Adams, etc., has made them more of a threat than the previous editions.
Prediction: England, USA
Group C (Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia)
2022 may be the last year we will witness Leo Messi playing any World Cup for Argentine Side. This legend will undoubtedly eye the Cup, especially after winning the Copa America 2021, ending a long drought of winning any international tournament for his nation. Argentina is also awestruck as their team is currently running a 31-game unbeaten streak. ‘The Albiceleste’ is also the top favorite from Group C to qualify for the next round.
Mexico, currently the FIFA 9th ranked team, qualified for the world cup from the CONCACAF region. Although they have gone through a disappointing qualifying campaign, Mexico can be considered to advance to the next round with ease.
The main obstacle for the ‘El Tri’ will be the 26th-ranked nation Poland. Despite having one of the best current strikers Robert Lewandowski, Poland FC doesn’t provide much of a threat. The same goes for Saudi Arabia as well.
Prediction: Argentina, Mexico
Group D (France, Denmark, Tunisia, Australia)
France’s title redemption mission will start with the group stage battle as the defending Champions will face a comfortable path to the knockout phase with arguably one of the deepest squads in the 2022 World Cup. The ‘Les Bleus’ were also unbeaten in the qualifiers. Certainly. They would want to forget the memory of their early exit from the last 16 in Euro 2020 and move on to capture new glory.
Unlikely, Denmark will start their World Cup journey with the wish to replicate its Euro 2020 campaign. Just like the miraculous survival of their superstar Christian Eriksen from a shocking cardiac arrest that shook the entire soccer world, Denmark ended the Euro on a high note.
The Danish side ended the tournament in the Semi at sudden death. They continued their sublime form in the qualifiers as the team had 9 wins in their 10 matches and would want to continue the run in the WC 2022.
The other two members in the group, Iran and the Inter-confederation play-off 1 winner, possibly stand no chance against these two European giants.
Prediction: France, Denmark
Group E (Germany, Spain, Japan, Costa Rica)
Remember how Germany gets eliminated from the first round of the 2018 Russia World Cup? This was the worst world cup campaign in the history of this 4-times World Champions. Spain had to accept almost the same fate as the journey of the former 2010 World Champion ended in the Round of 16 with a defeat at the tie-break to the Host nation.
Germany and Spain will start their redemption mission in the 2022 World Cup, and the former champions are placed in the same E Group. They were topped in their respective groups in the qualifiers. They are also expected to advance to the next round quite comfortably as the other two teams in the group are Japan and the IC playoff 2 Winner. None of the teams actually pose much of a threat.
Prediction: Germany, Spain
Group F (Belgium, Croatia, Canada, Morocco)
Probably for the last time, we’re going to witness the ‘Golden Generation of Belgium as most of their superstars, including Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, and Romelu Lukaku, are in their thirties. The Belgian Red Devils had their heart broken in the 2018 World Cup, which might be their final chance to grab the glory.
Belgium’s main threat in the group round would be the finalist of the 2018 Russia WC, Croatia. Croats were sublime throughout the entire tournament in 2018, but the success in the 2022 campaign depends on their key player, the 2018 World Cup’s best player Luca Modric. In his 36, Modric is having a dream run in Real Madrid. Others, including Dejan Lovren, Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Perisic, and others will be well supported.
Canada had a pretty exciting qualifier from the CONCACAF region, and they are back in the World Cup picture after 36 years. Despite having some electrifying young players, including Bayern Superstar Alphonso Davies, Lyon attacker Jonathan David, and top scorer in the CONCACAF qualifiers Cyle Larin by their side, Canada has a slight chance to pass the round over Croatia. The Moroccans are also on the same page as well.
Prediction: Belgium, Croatia
Group G (Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon)
Brazil is the powerhouse of World Cup football, and rightfully so. They are the only team that has never missed a world cup since its inaugural edition and also hold the record of winning the World cup 5 times, the most by a footballing nation. The current FIFA 1 ranked team is also the most favored in the 2022 World Cup. Brazil also holds the highest odds on different betting sites to win the World Cup.
Since 2016, Brazil has been an intimidating force under the managership of their coach Tite. They won the 2019 Copa América. In the CONMEBOL qualifiers, Brazil earned 14 victories in their 17 matches. Although, Brazil failed to convert their success in the 2018 World Cup and the 2021 Copa. The Selecao are determined to bring the glory to home this time and are the top team to qualify from Group G.
Just like the 2018 WC edition, Serbia and Switzerland are in the same group as Brazil. Also, both teams were unbeaten in their qualifies. Switzerland is currently in the 14th position in the FIFA ranking. Team balance is the key factor behind the success of the 2020 Euro quarterfinalists.
They have effective players in different positions, including Akanji, Zakaria, Xhaka, Embolo, and the veteran Shaqiri. Serbia is led by their key players Dušan Tadić, Milinković-Savić, Aleksandar Mitrović, and Dušan Vlahović. They are surely going to give a tight fight in the group stage, but it’s the overall team balance that’s going to give the Swiss the upper hand.
Prediction: Brazil, Switzerland
Group H (Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana)
This group will see the farewells of legendary footballers Christiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, and Luis Suarez. All of them will give their everything to see their teams, Portugal and Uruguay, qualify for the Group of 16 round. Both these teams are also the top favorites from Group H.
Christiano Ronaldo can certainly hope to win the first-ever World title for Portugal as the Portuguese headliner is now well-supported by many world-class players. Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Diego Jota, Andre Silva, and Joao Felix form one of the deadliest attacking combos. At the same time, Ruben Dias, Pepe, Joao Cancelo, Raphael Guerreiro, etc., have made a rock-solid defense at the back. Overall, Portugal is convincingly a true contender for the World Cup 2022.
Uruguay and Ghana will have a rematch of their thrilling 2010 World Cup knockout. The savior for Uruguay in that match, Luis Suarez, along with Cavani and Godin, is on their way to bid farewell to international football with this tournament. Although, the Uruguayan side is on the way to having a change with the inclusion of the newest faces like Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Darwin Núñez. Despite having a rough qualifier, Uruguay is the 2nd favorite in this group.
Apart from Spurs superstar Son and the Ayew Brothers, there are no notable players in Ghana and South Korean Soccer teams. Portugal and Uruguay should easily get through the group round.
Prediction: Portugal, Uruguay
Football is a game of uncertainty, and so is its World Cup. Despite all the predictions and educated guesses, many upsets and shocking moments happen.
The odds of the teams change with each passing match and game day. That’s the beauty of the Football World Cup. It’ll always engage you on the live broadcasting screen. You can’t miss any single moment. Otherwise, it may end up in your regret; you never know!
So, what’s your guess?
Who is the hot favorite this time, who might emerge as the tournament dark horse, which matches will test everyone’s nerves, and who can make a shocking upset? Let’s know your thoughts and predictions, and check how many of them will match. Happy Gametime!